A tonometer is the instrument that is used to measures the pressure (intraocular pressure or IOP) inside the eyes. Tonometry is a common and standard test in a comprehesive eye health examination. There are many different types of tonometers that measure eye pressure using many different methods. The "gold standard" tonometer is the Goldmann Applanation Tonometer, but this tonometer requires that the patient's eyes be anesthetized (numbed) using eye drops and then the patient must keep their eye open while a small probe is pressed gently against the eye. Because this is difficult for most patients, non-invasive tonometers like the Non-Contact Tonometer (NCT or "Air Puff") are more frequently used. The NCT measures eye pressure by blowing only air at the eye.
Glaucoma is a completely painless disease that has no symptoms or warning signs so it is often called the "silent thief of sight." Because there are no outward symptoms, it is important to get a COMPREHENSIVE eye HEALTH exam annually to check for any signs of glaucoma. Glaucoma falls into four main types:
1) Open Angle Glaucoma: Open Angle Glaucoma happens when the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should, the eye pressure rises and starts to damage the optic nerve and nerve fiber layers of the retina.
2) Normal Tension Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma occurs when a patient with "normal" eye pressure has sensitive optic nerves and still develops glaucoma damage over time.
3) Narrow Angle/Chronic Angle Closure Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma occurs when a person's "angle" (the area where the fluid drains) is narrow so the fluid does not have much room to drain, the eye pressure rises and starts to damage the optic nerve and nerve fiber layers of the retina. Again because there are few or no outward symptoms, it is important to get a COMPREHENSIVE eye HEALTH exam annually to check for any signs of glaucoma.
4) Secondary Glaucomas: Secondary glaucoma is the name used to describe glaucomas that occur as a side effect or “secondary” to another underlying medical condition or trauma.
Most of the time, glaucoma develops very slowly which means that many people don’t realize that they are affected until some damage to their vision has already occurred. However, occasionally a person can have an Angle Closure Glaucoma "attack," their already narrow angles close, the fluid can no longer drain and the pressure in the eyes can rise drastically causing sudden and severe or complete vision loss. An Angle Closure Glaucoma attack can develop quickly, and symptoms do occur, especially when going from a dark environment into light. These can include:
**If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to CALL DR. KUBOTA'S OFFICE RIGHT AWAY so that you can be examined as soon as possible. If the office is closed, please go IMMEDIATELY to the nearest emergency room and ask to see the ophthalmologist on call.**